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Hiscox accuses former executive of $1.8m fraud

Hiscox action: the Bermudian insurer has sued former executive Yuval Abraham

Hiscox has accused Yuval Abraham, a former executive who was based in Bermuda, of misappropriating more than $1.8 million.

The Bermuda Supreme Court ordered a worldwide freezing of Mr Abraham’s assets on April 25 this year, on the same day that three Hiscox entities — Hiscox Services Ltd, Hiscox Agency Ltd and Hiscox Insurance Company (Bermuda) Ltd — had sued him.

A spokesperson for Hiscox, the Bermudian-based insurer and reinsurer, said yesterday that the company was working with law enforcement authorities to pursue repayment of the money.

The Bermuda Police Service has confirmed that it is investigating the matter.

The company has also petitioned the US District Court for the Southern District of New York for an order to issue subpoenas to Montres Journe New York LLC for the production of documents to support its proceedings in the Bermuda court.

In its application, Hiscox states: “In 2017 and 2018, Mr Abraham falsified invoices and used his position to cause Hiscox to pay over a million dollars to Montres Journe New York in exchange for luxury watches.

“It is unknown whether the watches were purchased for the benefit of Mr Abraham or a third party, but it is certain that they were not for the benefit of Hiscox.”

Hiscox details a schedule of seven payments, which it describes as the “Montres Transactions”. Varying in amount from $43,300 to $750,000, these were paid out by Hiscox between June 2017 and April 2018 and related to invoices that described “consulting services”.

Montres Journe is described in the application as a dealer of luxury watches and jewellery.

The freezing injunction from the Bermuda Supreme Court orders that Mr Abraham must not “remove from Bermuda any of his assets which are in Bermuda up to the value of $1,847,960.00”, or “in any way dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of any of his assets whether they are in or outside Bermuda up to the same value”.

The freezing injunction specifically references watches purchased from Montres Journe as being among the assets to which it applies.

The company said it has obtained similar freezing injunctions in England and Wales and South Africa.

The case was reported earlier by the Offshore Alert website.

A spokesperson for Hiscox told The Royal Gazette yesterday: “Hiscox is currently pursuing the repayment of funds which we believe were illegally obtained by one individual who no longer works here, and are working with law enforcement on this matter.

“Hiscox operates to the highest standards and takes such incidents extremely seriously. However, as this is an ongoing investigative and legal matter, Hiscox cannot comment further at this stage.”

Hiscox’s head office, as well as reinsurance and alternative capital management operations, is in Wessex House on Reid Street, Hamilton, and the company is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Mr Abraham was terminated from his job as CFO of Hiscox Services Ltd, the service company that manages expenses for Bermuda legal entities for the Hiscox Group, on April 27 this year, Hiscox stated in its US court application.

The company added that Mr Abraham had left Bermuda and was believed to have travelled to London, South Africa and then Israel in early May.

According to an affidavit filed in the Bermuda Supreme Court by Marc Wetherhill, Hiscox’s group company secretary, Mr Abraham was employed in Bermuda on a work permit issued “pursuant to a Polish passport”, and he also holds South African and Israeli passports.

Mr Wetherhill stated that the law firm Carey Olsen Bermuda had hired KPMG to conduct a detailed investigation into the transactions in question.

This story has been updated with the confirmation that the Bermuda Police Service is investigating this matter.

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